On the evidence so far, the USA are still the team to beat in the men’s Olympic Basketball event at London 2012.
The star-studded outfit have dominated Group A, and ran riot against the minnows of Nigeria, scoring a record 156 points. Given that Argentina only put 93 into the net against the same opposition, the South Americans can be said to be slightly inferior, but it should be pointed out that the Dream Team had a nightmare in 2004 when the South Americans famously denied them gold.
However, it is hard to argue with the overall record of a nation that totally dominates the sport. In 16 appearances at the Olympics it has amassed a record of 13 gold, one silver, and two bronze medals, and it really is a proud record that they mean to uphold. With a squad full of the best professionals in the NBA to call on, indeed the last time they sent a fully amateur team to the Olympics was 1988, hopes are high that the run will continue.
It can be argued that teams such as Spain and Russia, who both have a stack of NBA players in the ranks, will be no pushovers should they meet later this week, but if confidence is anything to go by, the likes of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony should continue to run the show. Realistically, of the last eight, one of the short-list of USA, Spain, France and Russia should provide the winner on 12th August. Well done to Lithuania for reaching the quarter-final stage by beating Tunisia, but that’s as far as they look likely to go, while Great Britain would just be happy with a win of any sort on the board.
As for Team GB’s women, they saw their Olympic dream end in tatters as they lost 78-66 to Brazil in the battle to avoid bottom spot in Group B. France secured top place as they beat Russia 65-54 victory to maintain their 100 per cent record.
They improved to 5-0 in convincing fashion, overturning an early Russian lead in the second quarter and then dominating the second half. With Celine Dumerc in top scoring form, they must be among the leading candidates for the gold medal.
The USA warmed up for the knockout stages with a 114-66 win over China for their 38th straight success in the Olympics, while the 4th-ranked Czech Republic coasted into the last eight with an 82-47 win over Angola in their Group B finale. That win earned fourth place for the Czechs, but they have to get past France to progress. Australia claimed the second seed in Group B, while Turkey’s hard fought win over Croatia saw them grab second spot in Group A.
If the general betting markets have got it right though, once again it would appear that the star spangled banner will be raised aloft on the 11th August.
Olympic Basketball Odds
BetFred cover all the major events during the London Olympics and the Olympic Basketball is no exception, the Quarter finals take place next with Brazil playing Argentina who are 4/6 favourites to progress, USA are strong favourites to beat Australia with odds of 1/200 in their favour. Spain are placed at 4/11 to beat France who aren’t favoured with odds of 11/5, Finally Russia are considered strong favourites to progress against Lithuania who are placed at 11/4.
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